The St. Louis couple who pointed pistols at protesters passing their house say they feared for their lives because of the “angry crowd.”
Mark McCloskey, 63, and his wife, Patricia, 61, both personal injury attorneys, were caught on video brandishing weapons and yelling at protesters who were due to demonstrate in front of the mayor’s house on Sunday night.
Daniel Shular, a reporter, took one of the videos and said he watched the entire incident over the course of 10 minutes. He said the crowd of protesters (estimates range from 300 to 500) had entered the gated neighborhood and were passing the McCloskeys’ home. The front yard is not fenced.
Mark McCloskey told CNN affiliate KMOV that “a crowd of at least 100 went through the historic wrought-iron gates of Portland Place, destroying them, rushed to my house where my family was dining outside and made us fear for our lives “
Shular, however, told CNN that protesters entered through an open door. It was not damaged at the time, he said.
A live video on Facebook shows the left side of the door open as protesters enter the street. That video doesn’t show how it was first opened. A later Facebook Live video shows the right side of the door bent.
McCloskey told KMOV that the entire neighborhood is private property, with signs prohibiting anyone who is not a resident from entering. “There are no public sidewalks or public streets,” he said. “… We were alone in front of an angry crowd.”
In the Shular and Avery Risch videos, the McCloskeys yell, “Get out! This is private property! He’s holding a rifle and she’s holding a gun.
It also appears that the couple and the protesters exchange words, but what is said is not clear. Mark McCloskey claims that some protesters made death threats.
Risch told CNN: “Organizers and clergy actively warned people before entering the street that there was a couple with guns and, if you were not comfortable with it, do not enter the street. Organizers and clergy were also rooting for the crowd and encouraging everyone not to give them the time of day. “
Missouri has an expansive “castle law” that allows a resident to use physical force “to the extent that he or she reasonably believes that such force is necessary to defend himself or a third person from what he or she reasonably does. believes it is the imminent use or use of illegal force. “
But in a series of tweets that address the McCloskey topic, University of Kansas law professor Corey Yung said Missouri law “does not allow lethal force to be used to merely defend private property (except the home)”.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department told CNN that it is investigating the incident. City Circuit Attorney Kimberly M. Gardner released a statement that she was alarmed by the events and that her office is investigating.
“We must protect the right to protest peacefully, and any attempt to cool it down by intimidation or threat of lethal force will not be tolerated,” he said in his statement. “Make no mistake: We will not tolerate the use of force against those who exercise their First Amendment rights, and we will use the full power of Missouri law to hold people accountable.”
Protesters walking down Portland Place were heading to the nearby home of Mayor Lyda Krewson. They intended to speak out against an incident on Friday in which she read aloud at a press conference the names and addresses of people who had written letters calling for police reform.
A couple left their home and pointed weapons at protesters in their neighborhood #StLouis #lydakrewson pic.twitter.com/ZJ8a553PAU
– Daniel Shular (@xshularx) June 29, 2020
The McCloskey House (white stone) is beyond the gates that block access to Portland Place.
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